Tyvak International supervises Italian students building satellite for first Vatican space mission

Students from the Polytechnic University of Turin or Politecnico di Torino perform test activities on the on the Spei Satelles papal satellite, as engineers with Tyvak International supervise the students’ work. (Image Credit: Politecnico di Torino)

Tyvak International supports Polytechnic University of Turin students as they advance pope’s Spei Satelles space mission to transmit messages of hope

Turin, Italy, June 13, 2023 –  A satellite created with the help of Tyvak International, successfully launched Monday, carrying Pope Francis’s iconic “Statis Orbis” coronavirus pandemic prayer heavenward.


The Polytechnic University of Turin (PoliTO) CubeSat Team and DIANA Robotics Team designed the 3U CubeSat spacecraft for the papal Spei Satelles or Satellites of Hope space mission, which blasted off Monday from the Vandenberg Air Force in California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.


A technical team from Tyvak International proudly supervised and supported the students’ six-month project to develop the satellite, which will operate from Low Earth Orbit. The Project has been promoted by the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See in unity with the Pope, together with the Italian Space Agency.


Spei Satelles contains a nanobook, a 2-millimeter by 2-millimeter, 0.2-millimeter-thick silicon slab fabricated by the Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnology of the National Research Council of Italy. The book contains images and readings associated with Pope Francis’s famous March 27, 2020 public prayer. That March night, a solemn, solitary Pope Francis slowly ascended the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica in the rain before hoisting a cross above his head beneath a white canopy.


He encouraged the world to stay strong with a prayer delivered before an empty square that typically draws tens of thousands of people for papal speeches. In the viral speech, the pope called for humanity to unite to fight the pandemic with “the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.”


Now, the Spei Satelles mission will transmit Pope Francis’s messages of hope and unity in 437.5 MHz, a UHF amateur satellite band, during the satellite’s stay in sun-synchronous orbit 525 kilometers above Earth. Tyvak International includes several PoliTO alumni, who learned how to design, launch and operate nanosatellites in the same CubeSat Team Lab where they recently worked closely with the next generation of spacecraft engineers.


“It’s a huge honor for our company to be part of this historical and inspirational papal space mission,” said Fabio Nichele, CEO of Tyvak International. “We’ve encouraged the passion and dedication of a new generation of space enthusiasts, while spreading a message of unity and hope.”


“We are grateful to the Tyvak International team for their invaluable contribution to the development of Spei Satelles,” said Sabrina Corpino, a PoliTO professor and project manager for the Spei Satelles mission. “Our students have been supported by incredible engineers, who shared their unique background on small satellites, making this experience a perfect example of a successful collaboration between industry and academia.”


About Tyvak International

Tyvak International is a Terran Orbital subsidiary, an operationally independent unit and a leading small satellite integrator primarily serving the European and International markets.

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